As discussed in Aviation Instructor Responsibilities and Professionalism post of the Aviation Instructor section, certificated flight instructors (CFIs) should remember they are a role model for the student. The flight instructor should demonstrate good aviation air sense and practices at all times.

For the helicopter certificated flight instructor, this means:

  • Before the flight—discuss the procedures for the exchange of controls, establish scan areas for clearing the aircraft, and establish who is responsible for initiating immediate action in an emergency.
  • During flight—prioritize the tasks of aviating, navigating, and communicating. Instill the importance of “see and avoid” and utilizing aircraft lighting to be more visible in certain flight conditions.
  • During landing—conduct stabilized approaches, maintain proper angle and desired rate of closure on final. Use aeronautical decision-making (ADM) to demonstrate good judgment for go-arounds, wake turbulence avoidance, traffic, and terrain avoidance.
  • Always—remember that safety is paramount.

Flight instructors have the responsibility of producing the safest pilots possible. For that reason, certificated flight instructors should tirelessly encourage each student to learn as much as he or she is capable of and keep raising the bar toward the ultimate goal. When introducing lesson tasks, flight instructors should introduce the student to the Practical Test Standards and discuss that the minimum acceptable standards for passing a given maneuver are stated therein. The certificated flight instructors must stress to the student that these are only the minimum standards and that he or she should strive for much higher performance.

The Practical Test Standards is not a teaching tool. It is a testing tool. The overall focus of flight training should be on learning, which includes gaining an understanding of why the standards exist and how they were determined. [Figure]

Practical flight instructor strategies for rotorcraft
Practical Test Standards
Use the Practical Test Standards as a training aid. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) does require specific training for the Practical Test Standards endorsements, but this should not be presented to the student at the end of the training. The certificated flight instructor should take into consideration all of the necessary training and strategically plan that training so the student has time to practice and prepare. It is the ultimate goal of the certificated flight instructor to produce the safest, most competent pilot from his or her course of instruction and take pride in knowing that the student not only passed the test standards but exceeds those standards when conducting any and all helicopter procedures, on the ground or in the air.